“The big tech firms’ decision to ban some of Alex Jones’ and Infowars’ content on the grounds of ‘hate speech’ sets a vague precedent that leaves them vulnerable to accusations of hypocrisy down the line,” Dylan Byers reports for CNNTech. “The way the firms went about making their decisions also shows how far the new media companies have to go in outlining clear and consistent policies about speech on their platforms.”
“Amid mounting public pressure to address Jones’ hate speech, Apple’s Tim Cook and Eddy Cue met over the weekend and decided to pull five of Jones’ podcasts from their platform, sources familiar with the matter told me,” Byers reports. “Cook and Cue decided to let Jones’ Infowars app remain available in the app store because they felt it did not run afoul of their policy.”
“Hours after Apple announced its move, Mark Zuckerberg and his team at Facebook made the decision to pull four of Jones’ pages from their platform,” Byers reports. “Zuckerberg only moved to remove these pages after learning about Apple’s decision, Facebook sources said. That is why the pages were removed at 3 a.m. Pacific Time. YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki and Spotify’s Daniel Ek similarly moved to ban some of Jones’ content only after learning about Apple’s decision. There was no coordination between Apple, Facebook and any of the other tech firms, sources familiar with the matter said. The decisions were made independently.”
MacDailyNews Take: Facebook, Google, Spotify, etc. are a bunch of spineless followers.
Read more in the full article here.
“There are reasons to be deeply concerned that the tech companies banned Alex Jones. In short, the problem isn’t exactly what they did, it’s why they did it… Rather than applying objective standards that resonate with American law and American traditions of respect for free speech and the marketplace of ideas, the companies applied subjective standards that are subject to considerable abuse,” David French, a First Amendment litigator and senior writer for National Review, writes for The New York Times under the headline “A Better Way to Ban Alex Jones.”
“These policies sound good on first reading, but they are extraordinarily vague,” French writes. “We live in times when the slightest deviation from the latest and ever-changing social justice style guide is deemed bigoted and, yes, ‘dehumanizing.'”
“The far better option would be to prohibit libel or slander on their platforms,” French writes. “Unlike ‘hate speech,’ libel and slander have legal meanings… It’s a high bar. But it’s a bar that respects the marketplace of ideas, avoids the politically charged battle over ever-shifting norms in language and culture and provides protection for aggrieved parties.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: “Hate speech” too often means, “I hate your speech, so I’m going to try to shut you up.”
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. — Evelyn Beatrice Hall
Again, as we’ve written previously regarding this issue, the inherent danger of censorship is that you make the censored more alluring by elevating their musings into ideas too “dangerous” to hear.
Obviously, this could be a slippery slope. For example, CEO Tim Cook, and by extension, Apple, are very big environmentalists and proponents of the reduction of carbon footprints, multinational treaties in service of dealing with anthropogenic climate change, etc. What happens to podcasts of anyone questioning the usefulness of certain treaties, datasets, estimates, projections, or the amount of human contribution to climate change?
As always in circumstances like these, where’s the line? Apple can certainly determine what constitutes “hate speech” for their service(s) and act accordingly, but as censorship increases, usefulness and breadth will naturally decrease.
Here are the direct links:
Unlike Apple, it seems, we trust the intelligence of our readers to be able to listen to what they want and decide for themselves who to ignore and who to follow.
Jack Dorsey explains why Twitter isn’t banning Alex Jones and Infowars – August 8, 2018
Infowars’ Alex Jones blasts Apple, Google, others; warns on internet censorship – August 7, 2018
Apple’s ‘Infowars’ move thrusts tech giant into the debate over censoring content on internet platforms – August 6, 2018
Apple removes most of Alex Jones’ Infowars podcasts from iTunes Store – August 6, 2018
Apple signs on to full page ‘open letter’ ad urging President Trump to keep U.S. in Paris Agreement on climate change – June 1, 2017